I'm the classic "gonna do it" guy.
This morning out for a walk with my wife, having a serious talk to which I should have been paying better attention, I remembered deciding in graduate school to write a book about writing. I had the idea. I had the motivation. I had it all.
Twenty-six years later I still haven't written it.
I meant to. No, really. I swear.
I'm the alcoholic having one more drink before I quit, the smoker down to just eight cigarettes a day and switching to vaping, the spender going frugal right after I buy a cup of coffee and a cookie. I'm that guy.
Maybe you are too.
I'm starting something. I've started already and taken this short break to tell you before I get back to it. I'm cleaning my desk.
Big freaking deal.
It kind of is though. I'm cleaning a stack of stuff I've been "gonna do." There are three folders of paper, articles, notes, and drafts some of which are a year old. It weighs on me, drags me down. It's stuff I'm gonna do but don't.
Shouldn't I be doing it right now then?
I would but in the midst of doing it I thought, "I should write about this at some point." I was about to write a sticky-note reminder to that effect. It would have gone nicely with the other sticky notes on my planner, some two months old, saying similar things.
The post I imagined would be fewer than 600 words. I can draft 700 words in twenty minutes, edit it down to size in nine more, post it in one minute, and be done within half an hour. Then, having published it, I'd be even more motivated to do the work.
I also need a few guidelines and think better when I write them down like this:
- Only three things can be left for later and each must be nailed to a date and time in my planner.
- My desk must be clear down to the wood. I write better with the mess of only one project before me.
- The clearing will take no more than half an hour.
- Anything left at the end of the half hour goes in the bin even if it's a check, a note from my wife, or a Van Gogh.
There are forces telling me to get going now or never. My wife was saying as much on our morning walk. I'm fifty and have been writing for three decades with little to show. I can't go on that way. That's not a good enough life.
What are you gonna do?